Cups of nun chai: online book launch with Alana Hunt, artist and writer and Sanjay Kak of Yaarbal Books in conversation with Jasmin Stephens
Presented as part of 4A Digital: Cups of nun chai: online book launch with Alana Hunt, artist and writer and Sanjay Kak of Yaarbal Books in conversation with Jasmin Stephens
Watch an online panel between Alana Hunt (artist and writer) and Sanjay Kak (filmmaker and founder of Yaarbal Books), in conversation with Jasmin Stephens (curator) to celebrate the release of the book ‘Cups of nun chai’, as a part of 4A Digital.
Held on 8 December, the talk focused on ‘Cups of nun chai’, an evolving body of work brewed for over a decade by Alana Hunt as a requiem to the killing of over 118 people during pro-freedom protests in Indian-controlled Kashmir in 2010.
It unfolded over two years of tea and conversation, accumulated progressively online, appeared as a newspaper serial in the Kashmir Reader from June 2016 – April 2017, and has most recently been published by Yaarbal Books, New Delhi.
TUESDAY 8 DECEMBER 6:00PM-7:30PM AEDT
Join artist and writer Alana Hunt and filmmaker and founder of Yaarbal Books, Sanjay Kak, in conversation with curator Jasmin Stephens for an in-depth discussion as we release the decade long body of work Cups of nun chai into the world in book form with 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art as a part of 4A Digital.
Cups of nun chai records the sharing of one hundred and eighteen cups of nun chai, and just as many conversations. Each cup was a part of a growing memorial for one hundred and eighteen civilians killed in the protests that shook the Kashmir valley during the summer of 2010.
In these exchanges the political unfolds through a profoundly personal experience, and events, places and sentiments that are often obscured from view are given breathing space. People, homes, memory—and flavour—combine to make tangible what so many outside Kashmir do not know.
This is an archive of small moments, marking each loss and moving against the normalisation of political violence and death. Spanning the spheres of contemporary art, literature, social-science and journalism, Cups of nun chai is a poignant act of memorialisation—a means of remembering, reading and reminding.
Adroit, and shot through with an extraordinary, even stubborn, compassion, it reflects on Kashmir, but also on nation-making and colonisation, and on power and violence. The histories, political forces and grief behind this work emerge gradually, but with great sensitivity. And eventually with an unexpected degree of ferocity.
Published by Yaarbal Books and designed by Itu Chaudhuri Design. With additional contributions from Parvaiz Bukhari and Uzma Falak. The book will be available in select book stores in Delhi and Srinagar and online via www.cupsofnunchai.com
Publication of this book is supported by The State Government through the Department of Local Government, Sports and Cultural Industries.
ABOUT THE SPEAKERS:
Alana Hunt is an artist and writer who lives on Miriwoong country in the north-west of Australia. This and her long-standing relationship with South Asia—and with Kashmir in particular—shapes her engagement with the violence that results from the fragility of nations and the aspirations and failures of colonial dreams.
Alana studied in Sydney, Halifax and New Delhi, and since 2009 she has led several award-winning art and publishing projects. These have circulated in the Hansard Report of the Australian Parliament, as a reading in the history department of Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, as a newspaper serial in Srinagar, Kashmir, and as an unofficial street sign at the base of Australia’s most under-utilised dam wall. Alana will be exhibiting new work in The National: New Australian Art 2021 at Carriageworks.
Sanjay Kak is a documentary filmmaker and writer of Kashmiri-origin who lives in New Delhi. He has been producing award-winning films on environmental activism and resistance politics since the 1980s. The film Jashn-e-Azadi (How we celebrate freedom, 2007), the edited volume Until My Freedom Comes: The New Intifada in Kashmir (Penguin, 2011) and the photobook Witness (Yaarbal Books, 2017) have widely influenced the way Kashmir is seen in India. In 2008 he participated in Manifesta7, the European Biennale of Art, in Bolzano, Italy, with the installation A Shrine to the Future: The Memory of a Hill, about the mining of bauxite in the Niyamgiri hills of Odisha. Born in 1958, Sanjay read Economics and Sociology at Delhi University, and is a self-taught filmmaker. He is actively involved in the documentary film movement, and in the Campaign against Censorship and the Cinema of Resistance project.
Yaarbal Books is an independent publishing house based in New Delhi, India. It takes its name from a Kashmiri language word for the riverbank, and suggests a place of conviviality, where conversations can take place. The logo, a bold Y integrated with a slingshot, is a fair representation of its intentions: both resourceful and resolute, at once toy and weapon. It also stands in for a commitment to swim against the tides of power, commerce, and conformity. Its first title, the 2017 photobook ‘Witness – Kashmir / 1986-2016’ was listed in New York Times Magazine’s year-end list of Best Photo Books of 2017. Yaarbal is an imprint of New Delhi based Octave Communications, a production house with a three decade long track record in documentary film and television, and headed by film-maker and writer Sanjay Kak.
Jasmin Stephens is an independent curator and lecturer in curatorial studies and contemporary art in Asia. She has contributed to programming by institutions and led by artists across Australia and in Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand. Currently curating with Contemporary Art Tasmania and teaching at UNSW Sydney, Jasmin also works with artists and curators as a researcher and strategist.
In 2020, 4A Digital is
Feature image courtesy Alana Hunt.